James Gavin is a five and a half years old boy living in Taughmaconnell and enjoys all the things kids his age do; Toys; Games; Cars; and his Tablet. During his nine-month developmental check, doctors had noticed that his right knee was bent. James has Cerebral Palsy which has badly affected his right knee. His hamstring has tightened as his limbs have grown and as a result of this James wears braces on both legs to assist him.
“James relies on me for everything, he can walk to some to degree but even for him to strap his shoes is next to impossible.” states his mother Elizabeth
The family originally hail from both Athlone and Taughmaconnell with James’s Father Anthony having a brother living in Ballinasloe and settled nicely with Anthony working fulltime in Roscommon as a HSE Store man and wife Elizabeth in fulltime care of James and his sister Kayla. James is currently enrolled as a junior infant at St. Ronan’s National School and the family could not be more grateful to the school
Elizabeth continues “The school has been brilliant. Lisa White is his teacher and Anne Marie Downey does his physio for him in school which is more than we could ever ask for. We are pushing for a specific SNA for James in the school to assist him wherever possible.”
Through much research the Gavin family approached Neurosurgeon Tae Sung Park with James’s Case, who has successfully performed over 4,000 Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) procedures, and he quickly responded claiming James would be an excellent candidate for SDR and this surgery would permanently remove James’s Spasticity and improve the strength and endurance on his legs.
The surgery, however, does not come without a cost. Two surgeries will be required within an intense three-week surgical period in which the SDR procedure will cost 40,000 USD and James will also require Muscle Lengthening Surgery costing 15,000 USD both at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri. James will then require two years of buildup physio at home to build up his strength as his legs will be very weak after the spasticity is removed.
Elizabeth commented: “This is a permanent solution. It is only a matter of time before James loses his mobility and while the thoughts of a wheelchair scare me, it is the pain he will have to endure on a daily basis with spasms that upsets me the most.”
A date has been set to undergo operations in late July and the SDR procedure taking place August 5. The family have set up a go fund me page to try and raise the funds for the €100,000 it will cost to cover the procedures, physio, accommodation and travel.
To date with the overwhelming support from friends, family, and the local community and No Uniform days raising over €1,860 for the cause, to date over €60,000 has been raised for the family. They are still €40,000 short of the needed funds as the family hope for a final push to bring them over the line over the coming months.
“We have been completely blown away by the community generosity . Especially with support of the fundraiser we launched. We were hoping to cover some of the costs, but the response has been incredible! This is the last thing we want to do but we do not have that kind of money lying around” , explains Elizabeth.
To assist the Gavin Family, you can donate at https://www.gofund.me/e457e062
Or you can track their journey on Facebook below
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